Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | December 4, 2007

Japan has problem with biotech crops

Genetically modified or GMO crops have been in the news again recently because of The European Union’s decision to allow some GMO corn and sugar beets to be imported. It didn’t make that decision because it changed its opinion and now likes GMO crops and products. The members changed their decision because the union is suffering a major shortage of feed grains. The European Union and Japan have been dead set against allowing genetically modified anything into their countries for human consumption.

There was also a recent story about a biotech crop problem in Japan. Japan may be facing a public relations problem as a result of a report that biotech or genetically modified rapeseed has been found growing wild in a number of its geographic regions. This isn’t good in a country that is so adamant against biotech crops of any sort. It’s believed that some of the biotech rapeseed imported from Canada for processing in to livestock feed was either spilled at the port facilities and crushing plants while being unloaded or by trucks transporting it to processing plants. Some was also found growing near feed mills. None of the varieties are approved for planting in Japan.

As expected, Greenpeace and other anti-biotech groups have jumped all over this biotech discovery. They cite this as a reason Japan shouldn’t import any biotech crops, even those used for livestock feed, like rapeseed. The groups claim that pollen from the wild biotech rapeseed could cross with other non-biotech crops in Japan like mustard, Chinese cabbage, and turnips. This could be an interesting one to watch. One of the fears of biotech crops has been the inability to control their spread in the wild and how to control that spread when it happens.



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